Recent economic challenges have resulted in widespread layoffs and other forms of unexpected income loss across Canada. While some furloughed individuals expect to return to their positions eventually, others are looking for new work. As many Canadians continue to rely on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to get by, the pressure to secure new employment (and subsequently, stable household income) is mounting. If you’re ready to re-enter the job market, we’re here to help. Here are some tips for improving your resume and landing those coveted job interviews.
Focus on Your Skills
Traditional resumes start with your education and job history, but it can help to focus on your professional skills right off the bat. Think of it as marketing yourself - what skills do you have that your potential employer will be attracted to? Try starting with a list of your technical and professional abilities. Avoid creating a list of vague adjectives like “hardworking” or “reliable,” as this won’t help you stand out. Instead, itemize specific skills relating to hardware and/or software programs you’re experienced in, machinery you’re qualified to operate, licenses you hold and so on. Look back at the job ads you’re applying to and use this section to show your potential employer why you’re a great fit for the role. You can also list health and safety certifications you have earned, from SmartServe to CPR and First Aid training.
Highlight Professional Achievements
Again, it’s important to be specific when discussing your achievements. Instead of saying that you’re a good manager, explain that you successfully managed a team of twelve employees. Instead of saying you’re a good problem solver, detail an issue you successfully addressed or a well-received process you implemented in a previous role. Note how you’ve met or exceeded targets and how that benefitted your previous employer. List any awards or special recognitions you’ve received on the job. This section is also a great place to list additional skills training programs or professional workshops you’ve completed. (Wondering where to detail your education? Near the end of your resume is fine.)
Present Yourself Well
While job candidates want to stand out, that doesn’t mean printing your resume on neon paper or using crazy fonts in a digital file. Instead, use a clear, professional resume format that reflects your excellent communication abilities and attention to detail. Make sure your contact information is clearly laid out at the top of your resume. If using a digital file, consider linking out to your LinkedIn page (make sure this is complete and up-to-date). If your email address isn’t professional in nature - for example, if it involves a joke, pop culture reference or inappropriate phrase - take the time to create a new one. Firstname.lastname is always a safe bet!
In some countries, candidates are expected to include their age, nationality, photograph and marital status on a resume. This is not expected in Canada and should not be included in any job applications. In fact, anti-discrimination laws actually prevent employers from asking for many personal details. As a general rule, keep it strictly professional!
Take Advantage of Community Services
If you’re struggling to put together a resume or would like a professional opinion, consider seeking out community agencies that offer a resume critique at no (or low) cost. Many community centres and government agencies offer this service for free. Look for a nonprofit career centre in your region and inquire about their services. You can also pay a professional resume builder to do the job for you, but this can be expensive. The decision is yours - in a way, it’s investing in your future. If the money is there and you feel that it’s worthwhile, go for it.
Consider a Headhunter
If you’re working in a field outside of the service industry, consider submitting your resume to one or more headhunters. You may also want to consider temp agencies, particularly if applying to administrative roles. While businesses do pay to use these services, job seekers typically do not. Be sure to look into a hiring agency’s process, specialization and reputation before giving them your information. A great agency may even help you by offering personalized tips to improve your resume and cover letter.
We’re here to help
Our website offers great resources for families, individuals and businesses in need of guidance or financial support. If you’d like to discuss a personal loan to help cover your expenses until your income returns, please contact your easyfinancial branch or easyhome store. You can also give us a call at 1-888-502-3279. We know that each of our customers’ financial situations is unique, and are committed to working with you to help you find a solution that will best fit your needs and lifestyle.